Nicolas Fleury, principal Horn player at Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will perform at concerts across Australia this June. We chat to him about his training, his musical passions and the concerts.
You started your French horn studies at the age of 8. What attracted you to the horn at that age?
The teacher! I was lucky to be able to try a lot of instruments at the Conservatory in Nantes (school excursion)
The horn appealed to me straight away… the sound is so beautiful and warm but also its brilliance. I tried my teacher’s instrument and I immediately managed to make its sound! It was decided that I wanted to be a horn player!
Were your parents also musical, horn players also?
My parents are music lovers but not musicians. They always supported the practice of music and of sport in my youth. I owe them a lot! I am the only hornist in the family…
You’re currently the principal hornist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra but before that you have performed in a lot of orchestras? What has your highlight been so far?
I was lucky to play in many orchestras or ensembles, as an invited or permanent member. Of course I will keep some concerts in my heart (like the 4th by Mahler with Daniel Hardin and the London Symphony Orchestra, or a Debussy concert in Lucerne with Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) but I’ve found in Melbourne an exceptional artistic level but also a quality of life which is incomparable with my London life before, so I would say that the MSO is the high point from any point of view!
You’re going on tour for Musica Viva with Emily Sun on violin and Amir Farid on piano. Could you describe these concerts for us?
We are going to give two trios which are important in the history of my instrument: Mozart’s trio for horn, violin and piano as well as Brahms’ trio for the same nomenclature. Emily will, with Amir, also play a creation for violin and piano by Gordon Kerry.
We will perform these concerts in all of the Australian capitals. As well as masterclasses for local students.
Well that is hoping that we can travel!
What is your favourite composition to perform?
“La Symphonie Alpestre” by Richard Strauss but also all of the repertoire that he wrote for the orchestra. The central role that the horn has in these pieces is just unbelievable and really satisfying to execute, despite the difficulty!
And what is your favourite composition to listen to?
The Brahms symphonies! The 4!
Apart from classical music, what other music genres do you like to listen to or is classical music your entire life?
Classical music doesn’t mean anything in my opinion.
Obviously “orchestral” music is my whole life! But I also like everything such as concerts of music from films, video games, concerts with the Big Bands of Jazz, or concerts with variety artists that we perform so often, that’s what it is today to be a professional musician. You have to be very flexible!
I listen to everything and all the time!
You have also been a teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London since 2017. What do you like about teaching music?
It’s so natural for me to try to give what I have received! Unfortunately it is difficult for me to continue my relationship with Guildhall in London, I have now developed a strong relationship with the University of Melbourne but also with ANAM (Australian National Academy of Music).
It’s an immense pleasure to guide the new generation of musicians towards professionalism.
Is there a dream space you’d like to perform in?
I’ve been lucky in my career to perform a little all over the world. The most historical space which gives me chills each time I speak about it is the Musikverein in Vienna in Austria. Unbelievable acoustics!
We thank Nicolas Fleury for this interview.
You can see Nicolas Fleury in concert with Emily Sun and Amir Farid for Musica Viva this June.
Nicolas Fleury, Emily Sun & Amir Farid for Musica Viva.
MOZART Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn (arr. Naumann), K407 (1982)
KERRY Sonata for Violin and Piano (2020)*
BRAHMS Horn Trio in E-flat, Op. 40 (1865)
*Commissioned for Musica Viva by Julian Burnside AO QC. World premiere performances
WHERE AND WHEN
The performance will take place in the following locations on the dates indicated:
Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne 15th June, 7pm
Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide 17th June, 7:30pm
City Recital Hall, Sydney 19th June, 2pm
City Recital Hall, Sydney 21st June, 7pm
Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Newcastle 23rd June, 7:30pm
Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne 26th June, 7pm
Llewellyn Hall (ANU), Canberra 30th June, 7pm
Buy your tickets for Musica Viva via this link: https://musicaviva.com.au/fleury-sun-farid/
What is your favourite composition?
To find out about other events with French links happening around Australia in June, take a look at What’s on in June